Top Publications of 2015

Our goal here at DCG is to always provide value to our readers, our clients and those in the software industry. As such, we share a lot of content that addresses a variety of software-related topics and provides information that we hope will facilitate problem solving or just provoke a thought or two.

With so much content, it's easy to miss an article now and again. With that, we'd like to share our top publications of 2015, based on traffic as well as feedback we've received.

First, we'd be remiss not to share our template for contracting for Agile. It was not written or published in 2015, but its popularity and usefulness is undeniable!

And now, for the top 5 publications of 2015:

  1. An Introduction to the Scaled Agile Framework - This article is an overview of the framework and why (and when) you would want to use it in your organization.
  2. Five Problems that Impact Testing Effectiveness and Efficiency - This article outlines five typical causes of testing issues and how to combat them.
  3. The Average Size of a Project - We did some rough calculations to determine the average size of our software development projects. In thie article, we share our data!
  4. 6 Steps to An Estimation CoE - This article outlines the steps to establish a robust Estimation Center of Excellence.
  5. Finding the Right Service-Level Measure in a Changing Outsourcing Landscape - Establishing a contract for outsourcing is tough. This article discusses how to create service-level agreements that measure both cost and value.

Of course, those are just the top 5! There are plenty more to be found in our Publications Library - and there will be more to look forward to in 2016!

Written by Default at 05:00

Download Agile DC Presentations

Agile DC 2015

On October 26th, we had the pleasure of attending the Agile DC conference for the third year. Agile DC brings together an impressive community of Agile practitioners and thought leaders from around the region, for a full day of presentations and networking.

For those in attendance, we were the keynote sponsor, so you probably saw us up on stage prior to the keynote speaker, James Grenning. Following that, we were excited to have 2 speakers at the event, our CEO, Mike Harris, and our VP of Consulting, Tom Cagley.

Both of their presentations are now available for download:

  • What if you need to scale Agile but don’t fit the models? A case study.
  • Budgeting, Estimation, Planning, #NoEstimates, and the Agile Planning Onion – They ALL make sense!

As always, if you have any questions or need more information, just leave a comment below and we'll be sure to get back to you!

Download Now

Written by Default at 05:00
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Martian Metrics

Mike HarrisI don’t often write blog posts here discussing works of fiction. But, my recent vacation was an opportunity to get through some non-business-related books for a change. For this audience, I’d like to pass along a recommendation, “The Martian,” by Andy Weir. There is a movie out (as of October 2nd), based on the book, but you should read the book first. Why? And why mention it here?

To start, it’s a well-written book. I enjoyed it so much that I read it in 48 hours (fast for me). Afterwards, I discussed it with my daughter, a mechanical engineer, who bought it for me, and she mentioned that some of her friends had complained that there was too much math in it.

My first reaction was incredulity – what math? There really wasn’t any! But I realized that, as an engineer, I had just processed the numbers automatically without thinking about the pain that others might feel.  

A lot of the main character’s (who is also a mechanical engineer) story is about developing hypotheses, working out ways to test those hypotheses, making estimates, measuring actuals and working out how to change plans based on the differences (negative or positive) between the estimates and actuals.

So, this is why I’m recommending this book to all of you. In the software industry, we rely on estimates to set realistic expectations regarding delivery costs and to appropriately allocate time and resources to the work. It’s interesting to see this type of situation play out in a different atmosphere – especially in space!

While it is a work of fiction, it was interesting to see business-related concepts collide with a compelling, fictional story.

If you read it, I hope you enjoy it! If you enjoy it and are having trouble getting your boss to understand the value of estimating and measuring actuals, have them read it too.

Mike Harris
DCG President

Written by Michael D. Harris at 05:00

Most Popular Collateral of 2015

We've already shared our top 5 blog posts so far this year, and now we're sharing our most popular items in our Publications Library! Here are the top 5 most viewed publications on our website for 2015 (January through June); be sure to check them out!

Top 5 Publications

1. Template: Contracting for Agile - This is a template contract for Agile from the U.K. government.

2. Sizing Application Maintenance and Support Activities - A proven approach for estimating maintenance and support activities using a new type of ‘sizing’ model.

3. A Short History of the Cost Per Defect Metric- Learn more about the cost per defect metric.

4. 4 Pillars of PMO Performance - Tips for improved PMO performance.

5. Agile Estimation and Functional Metrics - This paper provides a path for incorporating the use of function points into Agile estimation techniques.

Do you think this list will change before December? Check back in a few months and find out!

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Estimate in the Agile World

Some Agile organizations deliver software very effectively, while others do not. Why? What is the key to effective Agile delivery? At DCG, we believe the keys are:

  1. A clear focus on value
  2. Knowledge of the organization’s capabilities and rate of delivery

All software is developed to ultimately increase profits or to make a service more effective. This is the value that the business cares about; thus, development should always maintain a focus on this as well, which can be achieved via estimation.

Value-based estimating at the project level, and quality, sprint-focused estimating in development teams, can work together to ensure delivery for successful business software development in an Agile environment.

Download, "Estimating in an Agile World - Delivering Value" for more information on how this can be done.

Download Now.

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"It's frustrating that there are so many failed software projects when I know from personal experience that it's possible to do so much better - and we can help." 
- Mike Harris, DCG Owner

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